Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - Ultimate Evil Edition

Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo franchise is renowned for its hack-and-slash roleplaying gameplay, beginning with the first game’s release on PCs in 1996, its first sequel seeing release in 2000. The first two games would receive expansion packs sometime after their releases, with development of the third entry commencing in 2001, the tertiary title officially announced in 2008. Diablo III would not see its initial release until 2012, with the PlayStation 4 release, upon which this review is based, coming two years later, and eventually a collection of the original game and its expansion entitled Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition, which like its predecessors provides solid action RPG gameplay.

Upon starting a new game, the player can choose to create a character from six classes (crusader being the newest one in the expansion), each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The player can outfit them with a variety of weapons and armor, each able to hack away at the enemy with their weapons and use skills that require a recharge time before the player can use them again (the same going for HP-restoring potions). Some skills require the use of points called wrath, which recovers as the player hacks away at the enemy with normal attacks. The battle system works superbly, with players also able to have an A.I. controlled ally with their own weapons, armor, and skills, with virtually no room for improvement.

Although the third entry sports some improvements over its predecessor in terms of control, chiefly more generous inventory space, organized as a list rather than a grid, that negate the necessity to return to town constantly to sell excess gear, the aforementioned restriction can sometimes be a burden when the player loots gear from the endless enemies that spawn within dungeons and on battlefields. There is also the issue of not being able to view an expanded automap unless at one of many portals back to an Act’s base town, but even so, interaction is by no means bad.

Most Western RPGs tend to sport blank-slate protagonists, although fortunately, whichever class the player chooses to play as does have sundry interaction during story scenes, the narrative itself continuing from the second game, with journals revealing various backstory, although there are some points that make the plot feel slightly like a rehash of that in the second game. Although Act V is new to the expanded addition, the transition between the fourth and fifth nonetheless feels fluid, and the plot is good, if somewhat derivative of the game’s predecessors.

The soundtrack is enjoyable and always fits whatever mood the game has, although the noise of battle often drowns it out and makes it short of memorable, but the voice acting, as in prior entries, is top-notch.

The visuals border on perfection, with a 2.5-dimensional view of the game environs, which are largely devoid of things such as jaggies and pixilated texturing, and the character models look nice as well with realistic anatomy, although they don’t express much emotion.

Finally, finishing the game can take a little over twenty hours, with the variety of classes nicely enhancing replay value.

Overall, the PlayStation 4 version of Diablo III combined with its expansion is for the most part solid, what with its flawless hack-and-slash gameplay, decent storyline, superb voice acting, beautiful visuals, and plentiful lasting appeal. It does have issues regarding the limited inventory space present in the game’s predecessors, alongside the plot sometimes rehashing elements from prior entries’ storylines, not to mention the noise of battle often drowning out the soundtrack, which is actually pretty good otherwise. Even so, those that enjoyed prior installments will most likely enjoy the third game’s enhanced edition.

This review is based on a playthrough as a crusader on the easiest difficulty.

The Good:
+Excellent hack-and-slash gameplay.
+Decent narrative.
+Great voice acting.
+Gorgeous graphics.
+Plenty lasting appeal.

The Bad:
-Story sometimes feels like a rehash of the previous game.
-Noise of battle drowns out soundtrack.

The Bottom Line:
A solid hack-and-slash RPG.

Score Breakdown:
Platform: PlayStation 4
Game Mechanics: 10/10
Controls: 7/10
Story: 8/10
Music/Sound: 8/10
Graphics: 9/10
Lasting Appeal: 10/10
Difficulty: Adjustable
Playing Time: 20-30 Hours

Overall: 8.5/10

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